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Invoice not paid on time in Poland – what to do when a customer does not pay?

11.12.2023
Invoice not paid on time in Poland – what to do when a customer does not pay?

In business transactions, we often encounter situations where a counterparty has not paid an invoice. In such cases, it is important to know your rights and options for action. In this article, we will outline the various steps you can take to deal with unpaid invoices.

What to do with an unpaid invoice?

Managing unpaid invoices requires tact and efficiency. When a customer does not pay an invoice, the first and key step is to make contact with the debtor. It is important to approach the situation with empathy and professionalism, striking a balance between firmness and understanding of the potential difficulties the customer may be facing.

When initiating contact, it is advisable to focus on clear and constructive communication. You can start with a polite reminder of an overdue invoice, avoiding accusations or an overly aggressive tone. State the facts, indicating the invoice number, date of issue and due date.

It is crucial to understand the reasons for the delay. This could be due to financial problems of the client, confusion about the content of the invoice, or even a simple oversight. Therefore, it is worth asking the customer if there are any payment issues and if they need any additional information or clarification.

Negotiating new payment terms is another important step. In this situation, it is important to be flexible, but also to set out a realistic and specifically agreed timeframe. It is possible to offer to spread the payment into instalments or to set a new, closer payment date.

It is also worth documenting all stages of communication with the customer. In the event of further recovery difficulties, the evidence collected may prove useful. You may also want to consider implementing systematic reminders of upcoming payment deadlines for customers to avoid similar situations in the future.

Customer does not pay invoice – what to do?

When a customer does not pay an invoice and attempts at direct contact and negotiation are unsuccessful, it may be necessary to consider using debt collection companies or legal specialists. This action is a more serious step in the debt recovery process and often puts more pressure on the debtor.

Before making this decision, it is important to understand exactly what the characteristics of debt collection services are and what implications they may have for the subsequent relationship with the client. Debt collection companies specialise in the debt recovery process, operating within the limits of the law and often use various methods of pressure, such as constant reminders, debt letters and even field visits.

It is crucial to choose a reputable debt collection company that operates ethically and professionally. It is worth checking the reviews of the company in question, its experience in the industry and its methods of operation. Good companies offer transparent terms of cooperation and clearly state the costs of their services.

Penalty for unpaid invoices on time

When a counterparty does not pay invoices on time, it is possible to charge contractual penalties or interest for late payment. This is a measure that is often used as an incentive for the debtor to pay more quickly, but several important aspects must be borne in mind.

First and foremost, the amount of penalties and interest for late payment must comply with the applicable legal regulations. In Poland, the regulations on interest for late payment in commercial transactions are set out in the Act of 8 March 2013 on payment terms in commercial transactions. Such interest is calculated from the day following the due date of payment and is calculated based on the reference rate of the National Bank of Poland plus 9.5 percentage points.

It is also important that the conditions for calculating contractual penalties or interest are clearly set out in the contract concluded with the counterparty. This way, in the event of a dispute, specific provisions of the contract can be referred to, which provides strong support in the debt collection process. It is also important to remember to adequately communicate to the debtor about the interest charged. It is advisable to send a formal letter stating the amount of arrears, the amount of interest charged and the need to pay it.

In a situation where the debtor still does not pay his/her obligations, the next step may be to take legal action. In such a case, it is advisable to consult a solicitor or barrister to assess the situation and choose the most effective action.

What can be done when a counterparty does not pay an invoice?

In summary, managing the situation of unpaid invoices requires a considered approach and knowledge of the relevant procedures. A key element is to initiate contact with the debtor to establish the reasons for the delay and negotiate new payment terms. When these actions do not work, more forceful measures such as working with debt collection agencies or legal specialists can be considered.

In addition, it is possible to charge contractual penalties or interest for late payment, in accordance with current legislation. It is important that these terms are clearly set out in the contract and communicated to the debtor in an appropriate manner.

Ultimately, managing unpaid invoices is a process that requires both flexibility and firmness. The key here is to strike a balance between maintaining good customer relations and effective recovery. Any action should be taken taking into account the individual context and specificities of the situation.

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